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Ivor and Tabitha

Meet Graduate Ivor

Graduate Ivor and yellow Lab guide dog TabithaGraduate Team:  Ivor and Tabitha
About the Team:  Tabitha, a female yellow Lab, is Ivor’s 2nd Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Sonoma, California
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Melissa Smith
February Home Training

Ivor graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he studied Restaurant Management. Following his time at Cal Poly, Ivor’s educational pursuits took him north to San Francisco to attend culinary school. Ivor currently owns his own business, servicing and supplying more than 50 vending machines. When he is not working, Ivor enjoys the outdoors, especially hiking, camping, fishing, and spending time on his boat.  Ivor and his wife have two children. 

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Tabitha is very smart and energetic. She is a fast walker and therefore is well suited to my pace and lifestyle. She is always very sweet with everyone she meets.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “When I got my first guide dog, I chose Guiding Eyes because of the Home Training program.  As a business owner, it is difficult to be away for an extended period. Home training enables me to participate in training while fulfilling my regular obligations.  Additionally, Guiding Eyes excels at providing ongoing support and training throughout the dog’s working life. I know that any assistance I need is just a phone call away. I consider this an invaluable resource.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Tabitha allows me to have much greater mobility.  After just a few weeks together, we flew to Colorado. Aside from easier and quicker traveler, there is a real social benefit to having a guide dog. When using a cane, I have observed people are likely to avoid me and stay out of my way, but everyone loves a cute dog and is eager to approach and greet me and Tabitha.  Guide dogs are wonderful companions and icebreakers!”

Were there any training highlights? “My training with Tabitha included ‘vehicle avoidance’. Tabitha knew how to keep us both safe in several different scenarios. Even with the trainer simulating a car coming toward us in reverse, Tabitha knew to back up and led me to do the same.  I am both impressed by and grateful for her training.”

Meet Guide Dog Tabitha

Enjoy these photos of the team and Tabitha as a pup on program…